Director, Urban Efficiency and Climate

World Resources Institute
  • Location
    Washington, D.C.
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
  • Posted
    Sep 01

Position description

We seek a creative and multi-talented candidate to fill the role of Director of Urban Efficiency and Climate within the WRI Cities. In this position, you will lead the Urban Efficiency and Climate work stream, which includes managing a team of experts in building efficiency, low carbon transport, waste to energy, distributed/clean energy and climate action planning, mentoring junior research staff, and coordinating a community of practice across the globe. Your objective is to ensure effective coordination across the 6-country network, develop and steer a strategy and work plan for the work stream to deliver local, national and international outcomes, raise funds, and develop a coherent and compelling portfolio of projects. You are also responsible for integrating and collaborating with other work streams as urban development and urban mobility, following a cohesive global strategy across multiple solutions. You will report to the WRI Cities Global Director and be a core member of the Executive Team of WRI Cities.

In addition to the internal responsibilities, the Director will also serve in an external capacity, collaborating with other Executive Team members, to shape and develop a strategy for how the Center engages with local, subnational, regional and national stakeholders, and engage at a strategic level to promote the importance of cities to achieving countries’ nationally determined contributions (NDCs) through low-carbon, sustainable urban growth. You will engage directly with leaders and policy makers in developing countries. You will represent WRI Cities in cities-related partnerships and during high-level events (e.g. Global Covenant of Mayors, Conference of Parties (COP), etc.). Ideally, you will have extensive experience working with city and national public and private stakeholders in a similar capacity as well as an understanding on global agenda (e.g. Paris Agreement/NDCs, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), New Urban Agenda, etc.).


In this role, you will:

  • In partnership with country teams, represent the WRI Cities approach on urban energy and climate through direct engagement and interaction with cities, national governments and other global actors;
  • Define and deploy a strategic approach to integrate building efficiency, low carbon transport, waste to energy, distributed/clean energy and climate action planning, in partnership with other Executive Team members, drawing upon the program’s expertise and tools;
  • Develop and steer a strategy and work plan for the Urban Efficiency and Climate work stream to deliver local, national and international outcomes;
  • Develop and lead research on urban efficiency and climate, including good practice, lessons learned, enabling conditions, and additional sub-topics of high value;
  • Contribute to defining metrics and developing tools that support a strategic approach for cities to support countries to ratchet-up NDCs in 2020 and beyond;
  • Represent the program externally on key topics of expertise, at conferences or meetings, in writing, and with media. Liaise directly with selected partners to develop alliances that help the program deliver integrated services;
  • Lead or play an instrumental role in significant fundraising efforts, particularly on multi-sector topics, from developing the opportunity and pitching the proposal, to stewarding the donor;
  • Convene experts from different areas of work to identify synergies across projects, establish strategic offers and develop processes to fortify communication and collaboration across areas;
  • Facilitate effective annual project planning by fostering collaboration and integration of core offers;
  • Manage a unit, staff, and corresponding budget;
  • Coordinate across programs at the institute and within the program to contribute to the overall success of WRI Cities;
  • Represent the work stream on the WRI Cities Executive Team.


Required qualifications:

  • Master’s degree in environment, urban planning, energy or climate;
  • 15 years of relevant full time work experience;
  • 8 or more years of previous experience developing and growing urban programs, large-scale projects, innovative business models, and/or new products and services;
  • Demonstrated ability to work both independently and as part of a team, as well as supervising and mentoring a team;
  • Ability and aptitude to pursue several tasks in parallel; prioritize; handle tight deadlines; and expand the scope of work and responsibilities as needed;
  • Significant experience working directly with city governments or at the metropolitan scale to implement real-world projects with measurable positive results;
  • Experience leading successful, large fundraising efforts from multiple donor types;
  • Excellent speaking, writing, quantitative, and analytical skills, with excellent command of written and spoken English.
  • Flexibility to travel internationally

Desirable qualifications:

  • PhD degree in environment, energy or climate;
  • Working knowledge of one or more of the following languages is highly desirable: Spanish, Portuguese, Turkish, Mandarin, Cantonese, a major Indian language, and/or a major African language;
  • Ability to learn new software and systems quickly;
  • Demonstrated team spirit with excellent interpersonal skills and ability to work in a multi-cultural, multi-disciplinary environment with staff and external stakeholders at all levels, demonstrating the ability to respond and deal effectively with diverse situations using good judgment, tact, and diplomacy;
  • Experience working with diverse professionals and cultures;
  • Proactive attitude, a self-starter, and team player with a high degree of motivation, initiative, reliability and willingness to help others to meet WRI work objectives.

Application instructions

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